"I've been asked a couple of times this fall, 'Why did we build a Center for the Arts?'" Head of School John Packard P'18, P'21 told the student body, gathered alongside faculty and staff outside of the just-completed facility this morning. "The answer to that question basically, very simply, is, we built it for all of you."
"It's to help us achieve our mission more fully," he continued, "to deliver more experience and celebrate more together as a school community."
Packard's address kicked off the first celebration of the recent completion on the 45,000-square foot structure joining the visual, musical and performing arts spaces together in the center of campus.
"It was almost 17 months ago that the old auditorium was torn down and it felt like we had months and months and months of trucks coming and going and dirt being moved and not much happening," he said to the crowd. "And then all of a sudden, people putting the steel in were here ... and the building started taking shape. Then, all of a sudden, here we are!"
Before letting everyone gathered outside of the front door on campus' Main Street loose to explore, he gave credit to all of those who helped make the new building a reality.
"I want to think of a number of people, first of all, those who have made it possible: alums of this school," he said. "I think of them [and] I think of the scores of people who built it, through zero-degree temperatures throughout the whole winter last year, and the time and effort and talent and expertise [that they poured into it]. I think it's incumbent on us to do well with [the Center for the Arts] because a lot went into it being created. And with that, enjoy it!"
And enjoy it students did, rushing in with broad smiles and wide eyes to take in all that the brand-new building has to offer, from the 330-seat theater, five ensemble rooms, four practice rooms, 2D and 3D studios and digital media lab, to the photography studio and adjacent dark room as well as a scene shop, costume shop, two changing rooms and expansive outdoor terrace.
"It's amazing," said Thomas O'Connell '21. "It's so clean and future-y! It looks like it's really built to last and has everything we need."
Aria Uva '21 was equally excited. "I love it," she said. "I like the high ceilings and all of the windows. They make it feel really big and inviting."
The classrooms are what Ryker Ferry '21 most appreciates. "They are very nice," he said. His 2-D art class moved in earlier that morning and he noted that the class area is "bigger and has so much more space and storage so we can find things more easily."
Space for students to meet up with friends and gather as a community is another big bonus of the expansive Center for the Arts layout. "I like how open it is — especially the theater and balcony," said Aidan White '21. He predicts he'll use the building often for "classes and I will hang out with friends in some of the open spaces."
Sasha Rizika '21 can't wait to enjoy school meetings in the theater. "They will be really good here," she said. "It'll be a lot less cramped than the dining hall."
Living through construction wasn't as challenging for her since she just arrived on campus in September, but Rizika said she's still glad that the project has finally been completed. "It's been cool to see the transformation," she said. "On the outside it didn't look like much [was happening this fall]. But now, seeing the inside, it's pretty cool!"
Cool doesn't cover it, according to Caroline Samoluk '21. She describes the new center as "breathtaking."
"I can't wait to use it," said the afternoon activities theater group member. "With all the glass, it even feels like parts of it are floating. It's so big and open. It's amazing!"
See an album of photos from students' exploration of the space today and visit our Center for the Arts page to learn more about all the exciting opportunities the building offers our community.
OTHER RECENT STORIES
Theater Troupe Hits the Road
Actors in the afternoon activities group are performing an original production at seven local spots off campus before bringing the final show home to Brooks for the first play in our new black-box theater!
Showing Brooks' True Colors
Members of our community represented 26 nations at the annual Flag and Heritage celebration in chapel.
Coming Home to Brooks!
Alumni returned to campus for Homecoming — and to celebrate our new Athletics Hall of Fame inductees with a touching ceremony.